Many talented NBA players have made strides in the 2022-23 season, but Lauri Markkanen of the Utah Jazz stands out as the most improved. After being acquired from the Cleveland Cavaliers, Markkanen developed into the player many thought he would become when the Chicago Bulls drafted him.Most Improved Player of the Year Insights @ BetMGM
- Highest Ticket%: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander 11.7%
- Highest Handle%: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander 23.7%
- Biggest Liability: Zion Williamson
- Odds Leader: Lauri Markkanen -500
Markkanen made his first All-Star appearance this season and is averaging a career-high 25.4 points per game on 50.5% shooting. The Jazz have unlocked Markkanen and are developing the 25-year-old into a core piece in their frontcourt. Utah isn’t a contender in the West, but you can thank Markkanen for keeping them relevant enough to compete for a playoff spot.
The Finnish 7’0″ forward is a big favorite to take home the NBA’s Most Improved Player award at -500, which is a massive improvement when you consider he wasn’t even listed on the board when the lines opened. Last week, Markkanen was listed at -275 to capture the MIP.
He’s been bet down to -500, generating the fourth-highest ticket percentage at 8.1% for the second-highest handle percentage at 18.7%. With Markkanen’s handle percentage over double his ticket count, he’s seen significant backing for Most Improved Player this season.
Much like Markkanen, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (+700) has also had a breakout campaign for the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Canadian guard has continued to improve in each of his five seasons in the NBA, with the biggest leap of his career coming now, with 31.2 points per game.
There’s significant interest in backing him for the award, which has seen him tally the highest ticket count and handle percentage. The 6’6″ point guard has compiled 11.7% of tickets for 23.7% of the handle, as he’s sharing the sharp money with Markkanen.
Even though Zion Williamson is now off the board because of the injuries he’s dealt with this season, he’s still listed as the book’s biggest liability.